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   Danny & Ruth Ann Ford, 20 years of Dedicated Experienced  Breeding of Exclusive Quality Butterfly Dogs

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Harley - A Rescue Success!

Written by: Beth Rasmusson

In 1998, we lost my beloved agility and obedience dog, a 3 year old rescue Dalmatian, named Stormy. While we have several wonderful dogs, our other dogs are older and retired from competition or have medical problems that prevent them from being competitive. Stormy was my special friend and a very talented agility and obedience dog. I was heartbroken and knew that my competition dreams were lost. A few months after his death, I started looking for another Dal to compete with, but I felt guilty. I felt as if we were trying to replace Stormy. But I missed having a dog to compete with.

I decided if we were to get another dog, it could not be a Dal. I spent some months researching different types of dogs. I considered several breeds and finally decided that I wanted a toy breed. As well as the fun and challenge of training a tiny dog, I thought that a toy dog would be a great addition to our company of therapy dogs. I narrowed my choices until I settled on a Papillon.

We have known many Paps through the years, and I thought a Pap would be just the right dog to share our home. I knew we did not want a small puppy, partly because I have larger dogs and partly because I wanted to be sure I had a dog who would want to play agility as much as I do. I decided to check out rescue because I know firsthand that there are many great adult dogs in rescue who need homes (I had been involved in Border Collie rescue for several years at that point).

Well, I applied at the PCA site, and I waited. I looked every week at the dogs listed online and knew that eventually the right dog for me would come. I tried to be patient. Finally, Lori Bovee called me to say that some new dogs had come into rescue, and that 1 or 2 of them might be right for me. I contacted the foster parent of these dogs and we talked at length. She told me that there was a young male named Harley, and that she thought he might be a good match for us. She checked my references and we talked several more times, and finally I was approved for adoption.

Harley arrived via airplane to our lives in January 2000. Iíll never forget walking into the airport to get him in his little hot pink crate. I let him out and he clung to me as if to say "Finally! Iím home!" We bonded instantly.

So it was a surprise to us when Harley, having little socialization with men in his previous life, was a bit afraid of my husband, Merl. He would bark and run if Merl approached him suddenly, and he didn't want Merl to hold him. This was hard because Merl wanted to be his buddy, but lucky for Harley and me, Merl didnít take it personally and waited it out. He began sharing bits of his dinner with Harley and just ignored him when he acted silly. It took some time, but these days Harley loves Merl and thinks the best place to sleep at night is on Merlís head.

I introduced Harley to agility right away and he took to it like a duck takes to water. He loves jumping and climbing and running. I train with only positive methods and soon he would start squealing whenever we approached to agility area.

I applied for his AKC ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege), a program from AKC that allows neutered purebred dogs without pedigrees to compete in performance events) and his NADAC registration, and decided to register him as HD Dyna Super Glide, which is a model of a Harley motorcycle. A mere 7 months after he joined our household, Harley entered his first agility trial. It was a NADAC trial, and while we didnít win all the classes we entered, we did quite well and we both had a great time. Three months later we entered an AKC trial where we earned his first qualifying legs towards his novice titles in standard and jumpers.

In December 2000, we entered for 2 days of the 4-day Crown Classic in Cleveland. It was an amazing weekend, the entry was huge and the competition was fierce. Harley was pumped up and flew around the courses, leaving most of his competition in his dust. We qualified 3 out of 4 runs with a first place, a second place and a fourth place. He finished his AKC Novice Jumpers title with that first placement. I was so proud of him.

Later in 2001, I was thrilled to discover just how well we had performed in Cleveland. Front & Finish ranked Harley as the #1 Novice Jumpers dog of his breed. It was an amazing feeling seeing your name in the rankings like that. I wished I could stand up and shout: "Yeah, and thatís a rescue dog who did that!"

In 2001, Harley and I did not compete too often, as it was a busy year for me with my new career and a cross-country move, as well as the loss of our beautiful Siberian Husky to the cancer she had battled for years. However, he finished his AKC NA title in style with another first place and earned some NADAC titles as well. Harley also traveled to Orlando, Florida with us on vacation where he was admired by all for his beauty and good behavior. 2002 sees us trying for Open agility glory in AKC and NADAC, discovering USDAA agility, and (hopefully) trying for Harleyís Companion Dog obedience title.

Everywhere we go, people say they canít believe that such a beautiful and talented dog could have come from rescue. I use those opportunities to educate people about the PCA rescue program and about the million of other great dogs who need new homes, most often through no fault of their own. I also encourage those who want performance dogs to explore the rescue option, as many of the dogs who are given up have the very qualities we look for in a performance dog.

Harley is my best buddy, and I canít imagine my world without him.

Our Thanks goes out to Beth for sharing Harley's Story of inspiration  with Forevr Papillons, & allowing publication on our showpaps.com website. Danny & Ruth Ann Ford

 

 

Interested in giving a second chance Pap a Forever Home? 
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Harley Pictures and Story Owned by Beth Rasmusson, contact Beth at the.rasmussons@att.net for permission to copy.